Innovation Policy – International PhD course in Innovation Policy

What, when and where:

  • Course organizers Professors Rune Dahl Fitjar, Tom Broekel and Marte C.W. Solheim, University of Stavanger (UiS)
  • Host organization: UiS
  • ECTS: 7.5
  • Language of instruction: English


  • Where: University of Stavanger
  • Format: Face-to-Face, one week.
  • Grade: pass/fail based on presentation and submission of policy brief (report from the group work).
  • Co-organizers NORSI (Nordic Research School of Innovation) – POLISS
  • No. of students 30 students (approx. 15 NORSI and 15 POLISS)
  • When: 30.01-03.02.2023 (POLISS until 05.02.2023)
  • Every 2 years, alternate with Partner course:  NORSI » Geography of Innovation – International PhD course on Economic Geography Utrecht University, with Professor Ron Boschma.


Apply here:

Application deadline: 30 December 2022

Course content

·      You will get an introduction to innovation theory, and innovation policy more specifically and become familiar with different theories and approaches to how public policy can promote innovation and economic development. Herein particular attention will be placed on the regional level.

·      You will work on real-life practical policy problems.

·      You will provide research-based policy recommendations to policymakers.

·      You will plan, organize, and execute the solving of these issues jointly with other students.

·      You will present your recommendations and write a policy brief.

The purpose of the course is to equip PhD candidates with a thought-provoking and fruitful combination of theory and application. The course will be taught through combining introductory lectures to core innovation theory and policy topics, and project group work on practical problems. The students will be presented with a real-world policy case (e.g., smart specialisation) at the beginning of the course and will work on this case throughout the week with guidance from a dedicated faculty member for each group. At the end of the course, they will present their findings and discuss them. After the course, they will write a policy brief comprising their recommendations. This will also be the basis for the final assessment.


·      You will have a profound overview of the most central theories and debates in the research literature on innovation policy.

·      You will have a comprehensive overview of the policies at different levels used to promote innovation and regional development.

·      You will develop advanced and broad knowledge of how to assess a problem from an innovation policy perspective.


·      Planning and executing projects in a timely manner

·      You will learn to discuss policy problems and provide policy recommendations.

·      You will learn to develop evidence-based policy solutions.

·      You will develop/improve skills in terms of developing policy briefs.

·      You improve your analytic skills and your ability to communicate them in a holistic manner.

General competencies

·      Improvement of interpersonal and collaborative skills.

·      You improve your ability to work across disciplines and with a diverse group of people.

·      You can write policy briefs and communicate the results in a professional manner.

·      You can engage in discussions with stakeholders and communicate research-based evidence to a non-academic audience.

More on the course and specific timeline  (Preliminary course plan)

All sessions to take place: Innovation Park / Havets Hus, Stavanger. 

Monday 30.01.2023 

  • 10.00-11.00: Introduction to the course (Rune Dahl Fitjar)
  • 11.00-12.00: Introduction to innovation policy (Silje Haus-Reve)
  • 12.00-13.00: Lunch
  • 13.00-15.00: Introduction of cases: Meet the policymakers
  • 15.30-16.30: Assignment of groups to cases. Allocation of mentors.
  • 19.00: Reception (Location TBA)

Tuesday 31.01.2023 

  • 09.00-10.30: Innovation and inequality: How to share the benefits of innovation (Neil Lee, LSE)
  • 10.30-12.00: Group Work
  • 12.00-13.00: Lunch
  • 13.00-15.00: Group work
  • 15.00-16.00: How to write a policy-brief (Jan-Philipp Kramer, Prognos)


Wednesday 01.02.2023 

  • 09.00-10.30: Regional innovation policies in the Stavanger region (Rune Dahl Fitjar and Marte C.W. Solheim)
  • 10.30-12.00: Group work
  • 12.00-13.00: Lunch
  • 13.00-15.00: Group work
  • 15.00-16.00: Communication and dissemination of research (Marte C.W. Solheim)
  • 19.00- 21.00: Dinner (Location TBA)


Thursday 02.02.2023 

  • 09.00-11.00: Modern national innovation policy: Innovation agencies (Uwe Cantner, FSU Jena)
  • 11.00-12.00: Group work
  • 12.00-13.00: Lunch
  • 13.00-14.30: Group work
  • 14.30-16.30: How to make numbers count (Jo Røislien)


Friday 03.02.2023 

  • 09.00-12.00: Group presentations and feedback from policy makers
  • 12-00-13.00: Lunch
  • 13.00: End




POLISS is an Innovative Training Network funded by the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (H2020-MSCA-ITN) bringing together 7 European Universities and 13 Partners with the aim of contributing to the improvement of the EU’s Smart Specialisation Policy.

Innovation Policy – International PhD course in Innovation Policy is a NORSI core course and is co- coordinated and co-funded by POLISS.

Date & Location

Start date: 30/01/2023
Date physical: 30 January - 3 February
Location: University of Stavanger